The Phases of the Software Development Life Cycle

Technology does not only make our lives a whole lot easier, but it also makes our lives a whole lot better. Take for example Wi-Fi – how that has changed the fuss we would have if we wanted to connect to the internet.

Facial recognition as well – how we can unlock our mobile devices by looking at them and/or placing them a certain way. The introduction of modern technology has indeed made our lives a whole lot better.

Some can’t live with it, but for some of us – it is our livelihood. As Lucrezia once mentioned, “Websites, smartphones and all the other stuff are the core of how modern culture operates. If all is working, there would be major disruptions in the day-to-day working of just about everyone’s life”.

When we look at technology, we can’t overlook the role software plays in running and even building some of the technology that we use daily.

Software controls the basic functions of a computer and usually comes pre-installed with the machine/device you are using. These are carefully-organized instructions and code written by programmers (software developers) in any of the programming languages that the computer/machine you are writing for, understands.

As software is continuously being integrated into devices and tools, it continues to help us resolve different challenges. The process of compiling this list of instructions is much deeper than what we see with our eyes.

The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a term that has been coined to explain how software is delivered to a customer series. This systematic approach generates a structure for the development team to design, create and deliver high-quality software solutions based on the requirements of your customer.

From our experience, we have discovered that it is imperative to come up with a concise plan of action. Proper planning prevents poor performance – which allows for the reduction of delays.

The SDLC can be performed according to a variety of models, varying based on project type, requirements given, time constraints as well as broader company product development objectives.

Requirements

The second step is to engage with all stakeholders and look for as much data and information as possible. This action puts together all the tools needed to pursue the project.

The proposed solutions (or route the project should take) are examined until the most feasible solution is found that best matches the overall strategy and goals.

Further, investigating the validity and possibility of incorporating these requirements into the software system.

Design and Prototyping

Once the requirements are understood, the coding pros scrutinize whether the prepared software will meet all the end-users requirements.   The developers and designers prototype a feature or map out a solution. It starts by outlining the overall application’s characteristics as well as individual aspects.

The development direction approach will need to define all components that need to be developed;

  • Network and network requirements
  • Databases
  • System interfaces
  • User interfaces

Development

As a builder would say:  “ This is where we get our  hands dirty.” This is where the production takes place. The development stage is when programmers write code and build the application based on the design papers and specifications that were created earlier.

It means translating the design into a computer-legible language. The software development phase is the most time-consuming phase of the software development life cycle. Depending on the methodology, this phase may be conducted in time-boxed “sprints,” or may proceed as a single block of effort. Based on the project specs and requirements, developers will select the appropriate programming code.

Testing

It is impossible to deliver quality software without testing. This is another crucial phase within the entire Software Development Life Cycle. Once the developers have built the software, then it is deployed into the testing environment – where it is released for evaluation to determine if there are any bugs or errors.

There are different types of system testing such as unit testing, integration testing, functional testing, regression, and acceptance testing. Testers check for:

  • Code quality
  • That code meets the stated requirements
  • That code is performant
  • Evidence of secure development principals
 

Deployment

In simple projects, this will be as simple as deploying the code onto a web server. In large projects, this could involve integration with many different systems. Ideally, this phase is almost invisible; software has often deployed the instant it is ready.

The output from this stage is usable software. For some projects, this phase also encompasses the creation of documentation and marketing material. The users are then provided with the training or documentation that will help them to operate the software.  Again, a small round of testing is performed on production to ensure environmental issues or any impact of the new release.

Operations & Maintenance

When the software passes through all the stages without any complications, a maintenance cycle is to be performed in which it is updated and modified from time to time to adapt to changes.

The operations and maintenance phase are the “end of the beginning,” so to speak. The actual problem starts when the customer starts using the developed system and those need to be solved from time to time. During this stage, if there are any changes needed in the system then the software developers are responsible for implementing them.

In that case, there should be a monthly or annual maintenance contract between the software company and the client (software user).

The Software Development Life Cycle is very important for an organization because it helps to develop software from scratch. Every stage of the system development cycle plays an important role in helping to develop the system successfully.

Through each phase, there needs to be excellent communication between people. Software development is a huge undertaking and requires thorough planning, regardless of the model.

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Lwazi Sibisi

Lwazi Sibisi

Digital Marketing Specialist at BET Software

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